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Revised Common Lectionary Commentary

Clippings: Wednesday in Holy Week - April 12, 2017



Saint Dominic contemplating the Scriptures Saint Dominic contemplating the Scriptures
Author's note:
Sometimes I have material left over when I edit Comments down to fit the available space. This page presents notes that landed on the clipping room floor. Some may be useful to you. While I avoid technical language in the Comments (or explain special terms), Clippings may have unexplained jargon from time to time.

A hypertext Glossary of Terms is integrated with Clippings. Simply click on any highlighted word in the text and a pop-up window will appear with a definition. Bibliographic references are also integrated in the same way.

Isaiah 50:4-9a

Verse 4: “tongue of a teacher”: The phrase in the vowel-less Masoretic text translates as disciple’s tongue.

Verse 4: “weary ...”: Another translation places a period (full stop) after “weary”. It continues: The word wakens me each morning . For “those who are taught”, it has like a disciple. [ NJBC]

Verses 7-9: In Jeremiah 1:18-19, Yahweh tells Jeremiah: “I for my part have made you today a fortified city, an iron pillar, and a bronze wall, against the whole land – against the kings of Judah, its princes, its priests, and the people of the land. They will fight against you; but they shall not prevail against you, for I am with you, says the Lord, to deliver you”. See also Jeremiah 17:17-18 and Ezekiel 3:7-11. In Romans 8:33, Paul asks: “Who will bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies”. [ NOAB]

Verse 7: “face like flint”: The phrase is common in prophetic teaching. In Isaiah 48:4, the prophet says “... I know that you are obstinate, and your neck is an iron sinew and your forehead brass”. In Ezekiel 3:8-9 Yahweh tells Ezekiel, as part of his commissioning: “I have made your face hard against their faces, and your forehead hard against their foreheads. Like the hardest stone, harder than flint, I have made your forehead”. In Luke 9:51, the evangelist tells us: “When the days drew near for him [Jesus] to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem”. [ NJBC]

Verse 8: Courtroom terminology is also used in Chapter 41. [ NJBC]

Verse 9b: This naturally follows v. 3, so it appears that the Servant Song has been inserted. [ NJBC]

Psalm 70

The description of the psalmist’s distress is very vague. [ JBC]

A prayer for divine defence against those bringing threat or harm on the psalmist, and an expression of thanks for God’s care of the “poor and needy” (v. 5). [ CAB]

Hebrews 12:1-3

11:29: For the miraculous passage of the Israelites through the Reed (Red) Sea, see Exodus 14:21-31. [ NOAB]

11:30: For the miraculous destruction of Jericho, see Joshua 6:12-31. [ NOAB]

11:31: For the role of Rahab the prostitute in the taking of Jericho, see Joshua 2:1-21; 6:22-25. [ NOAB]

11:32: The REB offers: Need I say more? Time is too short to tell ... See Judges 6-8 (Gideon); 4-5 (Deborah and Barak); 13-16 (Samson); 11-12 (Jephthah); 1 Samuel 16-30 (David); 2 Samuel 1-24; 1 Kings 1:1-2:11; 1 Samuel 15:1-16; 13. [ NOAB]

11:32: “Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah”: Judges of ancient Israel. [ CAB]

11:33: “shut the mouths of lions”: In Daniel 6:22, Daniel tells the king: “My God sent his angel and shut the lions' mouths so that they would not hurt me, because I was found blameless before him; and also before you, O king, I have done no wrong”. [ NOAB]

11:34: “quenched raging fire”: See Daniel 3. [ NOAB]

11:35a: The REB has Women received back their dead raised to life. See 1 Kings 17:17-24 (Elijah revives the widow's son) and 2 Kings 4:8-27 (Elisha raises the Shunammite's son). [ NOAB]

11:35b-38: 1 Maccabees 1:60-63 says that at the time of the desecration of the Temple in 167 BC: “According to the decree, they put to death the women who had their children circumcised, and their families and those who circumcised them; and they hung the infants from their mothers' necks. But many in Israel stood firm and were resolved in their hearts not to eat unclean food. They chose to die rather than to be defiled by food or to profane the holy covenant; and they did die”. See also 1 Maccabees 7:34; 2 Maccabees 6: 18-31; 7: 1-42. [ NOAB] [ NJBC]

11:37: See also 2 Chronicles 24:20-22 (Zechariah is stoned to death); Jeremiah 26:23 (Jehoiakim kills Uriah with a sword); 2 Maccabees 5:27 (Judas Maccabeus and his companions); 6:12-7:42 (the martyrdom of Eleazar and others). [ NOAB]

11:37: “sawn in two”: This tradition is found in Ascension of Isaiah 5:1-14. Both Tertullian and Justin Martyr mention it. [ JBC]

11:37: “tormented”: The Greek word is a technical term meaning stretched on a rack or wheel. This was the fate of some martyrs during the Maccabean revolt against the Syrians in the second century BC. See generally 2 Maccabees 5-7. [ CAB]

11:38: “and in caves”: The REB has hiding in caves. See 2 Maccabees 6:11; 10:6. [ NOAB]

11:40: “so that they would not, apart from us, be made perfect”: NJBC says that those earlier in this chapter have now obtained what Christians still on earth possess only in an anticipatory way. He refers the reader to 6:11-12: “And we want each one of you to show the same diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope to the very end, so that you may not become sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.”

12:1: “weight”: i.e. encumbrance. [ NOAB]

12:1: “clings”: In most manuscripts, the Greek word is euperistatos. It occurs only here in the New Testament; its meaning is only conjectured. The P46 manuscript has euperipastos, meaning easily distracting. [ JBC]

12:1: “run ... the race”: Paul uses this image in 1 Corinthians 9:24-27. [ NOAB]

12:2-3: Jesus is the model for endurance of hardship. [ NJBC]

12:2: “pioneer and perfecter”: 2:10 says “It was fitting that God, for whom and through whom all things exist, in bringing many children to glory, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through sufferings”. Christ is the prototype and consummator of God’s purpose for his people. [ NOAB]

12:2: “pioneer”: The Greek word, archegos, is translated as “Author” in Acts 3:15 and as “Leader” in Acts 5:31. [ NOAB]

12:2: “our faith”: Literally the faith. [ NOAB]

12:2: “for the sake of the joy”: This can also be translated as instead of joy, i.e. Jesus’ repudiation of earthly kingship (Matthew 4:8-10, his temptation in the wilderness, and John 6:15, after the feeding of the five thousand) or his self-emptying (Philippians 2:6-9); however the exhortation that the addressees persevere in view of the triumphant end of the race suggests that the author understands Jesus’ example in the same way. [ NJBC]

12:3-13: Discipline is the quality which is required of those who “run with perseverance the race that is set before us” (v. 1), as Jesus demonstrated and as scripture affirms, and as children reared by responsible parents have experienced. Through athletic-like training (v. 11), discipline now leads to a future peace and the reward of “righteousness”. There is no room for moral lameness or flabbiness in the demanding life of the faithful. [ CAB]

12:5-6: The quotation is Proverbs 3:11-12. [ NOAB]

12:8: “all children”: i.e. all children of God: see v. 6. [ NOAB]

12:9: “the Father of spirits”: God is the author of humanity’s spiritual being: see Numbers 16:22; 27:16; Zechariah 12:1. [ NOAB] [ NJBC]

12:12: This is a quotation of Isaiah 35:3. [ NOAB]

John 13:21-32

Verse 14: “you also ought to wash one another's feet”: Instructions that the disciples must follow in the path shown by Jesus also occur in the synoptic gospels, for example, in Mark 10:42-45. Luke 22:24-30 links the disciples’ share in the eschatological banquet with their share in the trial of Jesus and their willingness to follow his example of being a servant. [ NJBC]

Verse 15: “I have set you an example”: In 1 Peter 2:21, the author writes: “For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you should follow in his steps”. [ NOAB]

Verse 16: In Luke 6:40, Jesus says “‘A disciple is not above the teacher, but everyone who is fully qualified will be like the teacher’”. In Matthew 10:24, he says “A disciple is not above the teacher, nor a slave above the master; it is enough for the disciple to be like the teacher, and the slave like the master”. [ NOAB]

Verse 17: Jesus adds these words to stress the seriousness of his exhortation. [ NJBC] In Luke 11:28, Jesus says “‘Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it!’”. James 1:25 says: “... those who look into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and persevere, being not hearers who forget but doers who act – they will be blessed in their doing”.

Verse 18: The quotation is Psalm 41:9. [ NOAB] As is God’s plan, Judas will “fulfil the scripture”. [ CAB]

Verse 19: This verse cannot mean that the betrayal itself will show Jesus divine essence. It must refer to the fulfilment of Jesus’ word in the crucifixion. [ NJBC]

Verse 20: “‘whoever receives one whom I send receives me’”: The equivalent in the synoptic gospels is Matthew 10:40: “‘Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me”. [ NJBC]

Verses 21-30: The betrayer must be dissuaded, or dismissed. Jesus honours him by seating him next to himself, handing him a “piece of bread” (see also Ruth 2:14, Boaz to Ruth); concealing his treachery from all but the beloved disciple. [ NOAB]

Verses 21-22: The announcement of the betrayal is very similar to that in the synoptic gospels: see Mark 14:18 and Matthew 26:21. [ NJBC] The identify of the betrayer is unknown to the other disciples. [ JANT]

Verse 23: “the one whom Jesus loved”: This is the first appearance of the anonymous beloved disciple, but apparently Jesus’ closest disciple and the eyewitness who wrote the gospel. From this point on, this gospel subordinates Peter to the beloved disciple in their relationship to Jesus and leadership of the disciples. [ JANT]

Verse 26: Ironically, Jesus giving Judas bread is not communion, but rather the opportunity for Satan to enter into him. In Mark 14:20, Jesus identifies the betrayer: “It is one of the twelve, one who is dipping bread into the bowl with me”. Luke 22:3 tells us that Satan is also responsible for Judas’ action. Only in John does Jesus actually hand Judas the piece of bread. [ NJBC]

Verse 30: “it was night”: The first readers of this gospel would surely see the symbolism of these words. [ NJBC]

Verses 31-34: The basic structure of this discourse is repeated in the third discourse ( 16:4b-33). [ NJBC]

© 1996-2016 Chris Haslam



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